During a recent excursion to the university student center I was bombarded with the site of many female teens in short skirts, hair color not found in nature and more pokemon then I can shake a pokeball at. The convention was in town and we were overrun by a brand of dork I was just not used to. I can handle most awkward situations and consider myself a dork. Look I took the name of a faerie to write under. I am a dork, but I have not felt that uncomfortable in front of a large group of crossdressing males since I went to a three story gay club in New York that played porn at the coat check. I think the main issue I had was the sheer amount of polyester and bad costuming. There were visible facial twitches. I can handle lots of women in short skirt, I am male and I have seen anime before but.....damn. There are special places in hell where they hide bad polyester anime costumes.


Now for the reason I am writing about this. The biggest thing that each costume had wrong besides the obvious hot glue usage was the fabric selection. Let us take a fairly simple example. In the video game The Legend of Zelda there is a character named Link. He wears a green tunic. The tunic is a flat green only because it is a cartoon. It is ANIMATED. This is REAL LIFE. Now those are capitalized to show a very important point in the translation process. Just finding green material is not a very good option if you are trying to bring something from animation to real life. Doing some research before a project is constructed will help you sooooo much. This will bring the character to real life more then anything else. The tunic he is wearing is based on tunics from medieval England which looking on wikipedia shows that tunics wear made from wool or linen. Linen is a great material that hangs beautifully and gives a very period look. Wool will be too heavy and does not fit the images that a quick yahoo search can give. So Linen is the fabric choice for this costume. Look at Kingdom of Heaven, linen tunics look great over chainmail.

Here are some other basic do's and don'ts for a good anime cosplay:
1.If you do not want to be considered a joke, painted card board is not a good substitute for metal.
    Metal Substitutes:

  • Cardboard covered in woodfiller from homedepot and then sanded to a smooth finish.
  • Armor sculpted in clay and then cast in resin
  • Vacuformed plastics
  • Papermache covered in woodfiller and then sanded and painted
  • Hammered brass kickplates
  • Car parts


2. Do not buy a short skirted maid's outfit and add ears and call it an anime character. No fun notes to help this one. In a costume competition it is just sad. I saw it this weekend. It was sad and hurt my costuming soul.

3. Do not try a bodysuit unless you can make it out of something other then stretched lycra in primary colors. It looks like the old Power Ranger costumes. And you need to have the body as well. Sadly not everyone looks good in a unitard. I know I do not.
          Alternatives:

  • Build a unitard.There are patterns out there for one. A quick yahoo search will show many pages of notes and patterns. Some are even free.  Try and find a stretch fabric with some texture. Solid primary colors looks like the already mentioned Power Rangers. Kwiksew # 3052 is just one example.
  • Leather. Think about how cool the jumpsuits looked in X-Men 1.
  • Latex. Yes just lik the fetish models. It works and looks amazing. Elastica Engineering is a great place with very helpful people and great service.

          Elastica Engineering

4. Plan ahead. Do your research and do not settle for the cheap way out. Cheaper is hardly ever better. Costuming is expensive and polyester is cheap. There is a reason it is cheap. Costuming also takes a fair amount of time and many great ideas have fallen prey to the fabric gremlin. The little creature that screws you over when you are in a hurry and need every seam to be done right. He will laugh his ass off when you are seamripping.

Damn that fabric gremlin.
I need to draw a picture of him someday. I think he will be a very snazy dresser.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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